Motion and Shutter Drag!

December 08, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! Salutations! Hope you're having a great week. I have and have been busy writing blogs. Its been a rainy week so I've got into the writing groove. This week I want to talk about a cool photography technique, trick, hack whatever you want to call it. And it's showing motion by using shutter drag. You can make very interesting photographs by showing motion in your shots. A silky smooth waterfall looks much better than a frozen in time one that was shot on a high shutter speed. Dragging the shutter is the act of keeping the shutter open while a moving object is moving through it. The object will blur a little showing motion. This technique can be used in street photography or landscape , sport or any style that the subject is moving and it makes a unique shot that gets peoples imagination going .  It can be fairly simple to do and when you get the hang of doing it you can turn it on in just a second and get that unique shot while you're out shooting something else.  Maybe you're shooting a dance class and you get all of the individual shots of the pretty dancers but now you take a few of them spinning or dancing and you drag the shutter you have art!  Here is the technique and some tips. The MetroThe MetroCommuters waiting for the Metro in Washington DC.

To drag the shutter your camera should be stable relative to your subject. Tripods can come in handy. But when your out on the streets maybe a post or trash can will act as your tripod. Shooting in manual or shutter priority is the best setting for your camera. Then you slow down your shutter until you get the desired blur that you want. You may have to experiment a little to get that blend that you want and it depends on how fast your subject is moving . A car travels much faster than a person walking. So different shutter speeds. A cool way to practice this is to go out at night and set up your camera and tripod near a road and try to capture light trails from the cars. You get cool red ones from the tail lights and white ones from the headlights. Waterfalls of course are my favorite for me especially during the fall when all of the leaves are changing and you get that silky smooth water of the water fall. Be careful not to make it too Spring Fall FallsSpring Fall Falls silky and experiment with the speeds.  But a field of wheat swaying in the breeze or clouds passing by a old building would be good too. How do we get the low shutter speeds in the daylight?

Using Polarizers and ND filters for daylight shutter drag. A polarizer filter is usually 1 1/2 to 2 stops of light that is cut out. If its a very cloudy day this might be all you need. But you may need to add a Natural Density filter to it to get the shutter speed you need. A veritable ND filter could also come in handy. They come in ranges of stops and you can dial in the amount you want to get the speed of shutter and the perfect exposure. I try to under expose 1 to 2 stops and bring it back in post editing to get the look I like. You should experiment to find out what your settings will be to get that look you like. For bright days you might need a 10 stop ND filter which is black and focusing gets troublesome. But you can get some cool shots with this technique.

Panning. Panning is the art of moving your camera at the same speed as the subject so the subject is in focus and the surroundings blur. Remember I said your camera should be stable "relative" to the subject. Panning is a art but looks good for moving things like bicycles, cars , busses and almost anything. But it does take lots of practice to get it right. I'm so so at it . I probably need to practice more. LOL

Adding motion to your portfolio shots really brings your whole collection up a notch! And makes your time out shooting more exciting trying to get that cool blurry shot that shows motion.  So until next week Get out and shoot! Some Motion.


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